Pink Eggs (and Ham, if you prefer!)

Right up front, I'll admit… I love boiled eggs. But even if you don't like them, this is an easy, beautiful, make-ahead, and tasty dish which is perfect to bring to potluck gatherings.

If you raise your own hens for eggs or, like me, you are fortunate to have friends who do, this eye-catching hors d'oeuvre is a great way to use them. I love deviled eggs and egg salad, but I had never made pickled eggs. I first saw these in a buffet prepared by Tellico Kats Deli, where owners Kellye and Tomye shared how they had been eating these since growing up in Pennsylvania. This made more sense when I searched online for recipes and discovered that beet pickled eggs are an Amish dish. I've adapted my version from several recipes.

The recipe can easily be doubled, but my 'new' antique egg server has 12 slots, so I cooked 7 eggs… one for me to eat and the rest cut in halves to serve. I'll be sure to make these again when my chrysanthemum daisies with bright yellow centers and magenta petals are flowering, so I can decorate the platter with a matching floral arrangement in the center.

Pickled Eggs and Beets

1 pint jar or 15 oz can of sliced beets (not pickled)
7 hard-boiled eggs, peeled *
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 T honey
1 T pickling spices
1 stick of cinnamon
optional: one small onion, thinly sliced

Drain and reserve the juice from the beets into a large measuring cup, and add water to make 1 cup of liquid. Put the cooked whole eggs into a one-quart canning jar and top with the optional onions.
A loose tea sack for the pickling spices

Put the pickling spices into a tea ball, mesh sack, or other strainer. In a saucepan, add the beet juice mix, vinegar, cinnamon stick and pickling spice bag and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and stir in the honey. Caution - this mixture will stain, as the finished eggs illustrate. Wipe up any spills with a disposable wipe, not your favorite dish cloth!

Pour the simmered liquid into the jar of eggs while hot (Tip: never pour very hot liquid into a cold jar or you'll risk breaking the jar - and having a dangerous hot liquid pouring out; if necessary, run hot water over the outside of the jar to warm it). Add the spice sack, then put the reserved beet slices on top. Allow to cool, then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 5 days ahead, giving the eggs time to absorb the color and flavor. If the eggs are too tight against the side of the jar (and still look white), gently insert a narrow rubber spatula into the side of the jar, to maneuver the eggs and liquid around, for more even coloring.

When ready to serve, remove the beets and onions with a slotted spoon, draining in a sieve. Discard the spices. Gently remove the eggs next, setting them on a paper towel in a flat dish so the liquid is absorbed. Discard the pickling liquid. Cut each egg in half, and arrange with the beets on a serving platter.

* To hard-boil eggs: Set eggs in a saucepan and cover 1" over with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, keeping covered, and leave for 10 minutes. Pour off the water and run under cold water over the eggs to cool them. Some say it helps to peel each egg under running water, and finding the thin white membrane right under the shell makes it peel off more easily, in bigger pieces.

This dish is perfect for a baby girl shower, a pink-themed bridal shower, or a tea party. You might slice one of these pink eggs into rounds and arrange them around the outside edge to garnish a bowl of potato salad. Or, if you serve these and end up with any leftover eggs, try what I did: a pink egg salad... yummy and lovely. Be creative and play with your food!